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Extraordinary

Nick Robinson | 09:53 UK time, Friday, 7 November 2008

Just a few long weeks ago when the Labour Party was gathering for its conference all agreed that the Glenrothes by-election was already lost and many felt that this might prove to be the trigger for a full blooded leadership coup. That, it was argued, was why voting should take place in the week of the American election so that bad news could be quickly forgotten if not actually buried.

Gordon Brown in GlenrothesEven yesterday, on the day of voting, Labour MPs were convinced they'd lost and the SNP did nothing to downgrade expectations of the political earthquake which Alex Salmond had once predicted.

Gordon Brown has re-written the textbooks for leaders in crisis. It was never before thought helpful for leaders in trouble to organise a global economic crisis.

The question today is how much this was a local rather than a national election?

Gordon Brown isn't just the MP for the neighbouring constituency. He was born and bred a Fifer - a citizen of the Kingdom of Fife. Labour's candidate was the highly respected and well known head teacher of his old school. His wife Sarah regularly popped in to campaign from their home four miles down the road.

The SNP were the incumbents. They ran both the council and the Scottish government and, although this was a Westminster election, Labour successfully turned this into a referendum on the SNP's performance - their local spending squeeze and their national promise made in headier times that an independent Scotland could join an "arc of prosperity" with, er, Iceland.

The economic downturn - which has led news bulletins for weeks - has yet to be felt by many in Fife. There's anxiety about job losses at the nearby Rosyth dockyard and fears that they'll soon follow in the banking sector, but when I spent two days there last week I could not find local examples of economic gloom. That is why the SNP campaigned not on the looming recession but on the soaring cost of fuel bills.

Nevertheless, none of this would have mattered a jot if Labour voters had felt ashamed of their government and embarrassed by their leader. In Glasgow East, in the aftermath of the 10p tax fiasco, many felt both. In Glenrothes it's clear that many did not.

None of it would have been possible if Alex Salmond's long honeymoon with the electorate had not ended (you can read much more about that on the blog of the BBC's political editor in Scotland, Brian Taylor).

Now, of course we should remember that this was always a safe Labour seat. Of course, we should note that there was still a swing away from Labour. Of course, we can observe that the party could not run this sort of campaign in a general election.

However, what matters in politics is momentum and narrative. This was scheduled to have been the week when the voters of Glenrothes declared "It's time for a change". Instead, by casting what politicians like to call "real votes in real ballot boxes" they have confirmed that the Brown bounce is real.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Looks like I got it wrong in forecasting that Labour would "just squeeze" the win - will try and do better next time ...

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh come off it Nick. Labour MPs were not 'convinced they had lost'. It's an old trick of dampening expectations so that what happens on the day is likely to be better than 'expected'.

    It's called spin and you are being spun a treat.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick, I can't remember the Thatcher Government or the Major Government holding on to many of their own seats in by-elections. Now it seems to be big news if Labour loses. Is this an indication that the media is looking forward to Barack O'Cameron winning the next election and giving him an easy ride. On this morning's news the Tory lost deposit didn't even get a mention.

  • Comment number 4.

    Something that was extraordinary was the complete failure of the BBC on the Today progamme this morning to get the swing right, which you did not correct either.

    Bob MacKenzie must be turning in its grave. So what was it Nick, 8% or 5%? I know do you.

    The BBC needs to get its act together!

  • Comment number 5.

    I think I'd echo Michael Portillo's thoughts on this when he was asked about it on This Week when the result was becoming apparent.

    ie Just how badly do you need to ruin the economy for the people of Glenrothes to vote against you?

    According to the IMF the UK, thanks to labour's running of the economy, is the worst placed country in the developed world and will have the biggest hit on the recession because of that.

    The banks have been regulated by labour in such a way that they pretty much went bankrupt and scotland will lose thousands of jobs in the banking sector because of it.

    We're going to end up with a public debt which will take generations to pay off, and the interest alone on it will be well over 40billion a year.

    Yet the people of Glenrothes still thought it was best to keep labour in charge.

    Do they know something that nobody else does?

    Very strange; I don't understand it.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Labour successfully turned this into a referendum on the SNP's performance - their local spending squeeze and their national promise made in headier times that an independent Scotland could join an "arc of prosperity" with, er, Iceland."

    "Instead, by casting what politicians like to call "real votes in real ballot boxes" they have confirmed that the Brown bounce is real."


    Make your mind up, Nick. You can't say that it was about local performance and the SNP and then claim that shows that everyone has confidence in Brown again.

    The people who voted Labour voted for the Labour candidate (whose name you don't even mention) and not for Brown. The reason I know this is that Lindsay Roy was on Radio 4 this morning saying it - about 30 seconds after you were praising Brown for his victory.

    If you keep sucking up like this, Mrs Brown is going to start to get suspicious.

  • Comment number 7.

    Brown may be on a high at the moment, but if he doesn't call an election soon, the repercussions of this recession will come back to haunt him. By next year the amount of people losing their jobs, being made bankrupt (27,000 as at today's date), and having their homes repossessed will have reached record figures and his popularity will be short-lived.

  • Comment number 8.

    Like I said on Forcing the Banks, McBrown's shower WOULD hope to win on his own turf and the tactical voting for SNP were the catalyst for the result. If t'were straightforward them and us and have no doubt t'would be we who'd win.

    In and about Londinium yesterday I spoke to many many foreign tourists who all said they had heard from all the English (British, whatevwer) they spoke to on their stay here that the country is fed up with the unelected Brown. He makes out to be saviour of the world but there is an underlying fear on their part of what is actually around the corner and how it will all pan out.

    The helicopter was out and my husband saw Brown in the back of his chauffered limo., grave, dour, head in hands in London yesterday. Oh woe. The job and the burden is so great for him. Hope he has the stamina.

    We know that, they know that, and the people will eventually be allowed to record it.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick

    I'm sorry a rock solid safe Labour seat next door to the Prime Minister's own constituency, with the PM coming from the area. An election where Labour have thrown everything except the kitchen sink at it with the unaccountable and unquestioned Mrs Brown visiting seven times (or more?); is held on a reduced majority.

    A triumph !! The Brown bounce is real !!
    You must be joking.

    Ah, the vintage BBC bias.

    For the life of me I cannot understand why 19,000 supposedly sane voters can vote Labour after:

    An additional £1.5 Trillion spent on public services since 1997 to scant improvement.
    A massive spending program in eduction that has delivered little education improvement.
    Student tuition fees.
    3000 new imprisonable offences but no new prisons.
    CCTV festooning our cities and Special constables but no police.
    Massive surveillance of the population but no security.
    Unlimited immigration.
    Worship of celebrity culture
    Spin and deceit
    Operating government as a media operation
    Focus on eye-catching initiatives but not actual improvements to peoples lives
    Abandonment of personal responsibility
    Massive welfareism
    5.4 Million people of working age on out of work benefits
    NEETS
    Huge and ludicrous regulation except where it was necessary
    Pointless wars
    Suborning our foreign policy to the US
    Party funding (I cannot say more as the moderators will delete this comment)
    Stealth taxes
    Massive tax burden
    Massive borrowing and debt
    Illusionary economic growth driven by cheap debt
    Unsustainable asset bubble driven by debt
    Unfunded spending
    An end to the "end of boom and bust"
    Not preparing for the bust by massive spending leaving little room for manoeuvre
    A deep coming recession
    Hollowing out of the UKs economy driven by the casino in the City
    Off balance sheet accounting
    Destruction of the pensions system
    Inadequate funding of the military whilst asking them to do more and more
    35 deaths due to the use of "Snatch" land rovers in Afghanistan
    and so on.....

  • Comment number 10.

    Who do you choose between: Scylla or Charybdis?
    Default politics.

  • Comment number 11.

    I can only put this down to habitual voting. I also live in a safe Labour seat, and the last time we had an election I saw a teenage lad being taken to vote by his dad for the first time, and his dad was explaining what to do.

    "You put a cross here where it says Labour, and then another cross here where it says Labour." he said.

    Given that my constituency also has an extremely high rate of benefit-dependents (we have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK, for example), so it's easy to see why Labour are still popular here. I can only assume it's the same at Glenrothes because no-one in their right minds who regularly pays tax or pays attention to the outside world should ever be voting for these incompetent criminals ever again.

  • Comment number 12.

    Does anyone think that Lindsay Roy may be given a more lucrative job for saving Brown's bacon?

  • Comment number 13.

    Alex Salmond is just a political troll. He's very clever and persuasive but he sniffed his own gasses too much and imploded. People like this can look very strong and get a lot of attention but they're a little too bright and brittle. As people slowly caught up and developed their own view the wax holding his political wings on melted and he crashed to the earth.

    "You can't buck the market."

    "What goes around comes around."

    "This cannot be taught."


    This is no time for an apprentice, "Dave". Cuz, you're next...

  • Comment number 14.


    We all know these things:

    1. Brown is partly culpable for the economic crash

    2. The Brown rescue plan aped the approach taken by other countries previously and has not been copied by those countries that followed

    3. That the UK economy is the worst prepared economy of the major countries to enter a recession (following the IMF warning and massive interest rate cut)



    The reason Gordon survives is because of what you call the "narrative".

    The media have not given Labour the kicking they deserve for crashing the UK.

    The media have bought hook line and sinker the "Gordon is our saviour" spin.


    Then I heard you say the other day that the press are going to be jumping over themselves to get the first photo of the Gordon and Obama love it.

    Labour even tried to bury Glenrothes as a news story behind the US election. Despite the IMF warning and massive interest rates cut - what is headline news on the BBC - yes "Labour Victory at Glenrothes"!!!!


    The media should look to report the news, not write the news.


    If the media carries on like this, we will be duped into electing the UK's equivalent of "4 more years of George W Bush".


    The "media narrative" can go shoot itself in the head. It is going to take billions and a lot of pain and suffering to rescue the country post Labour.


  • Comment number 15.

    The whole Country is scared. The voters of Glenrothes are scared.

    It seem 'extraordinary' to me that the news media are not able to pick up on the smell of fear in the Nation. Rather they would try to convince us that it is economic business as usual - what hypocrisy!

    When we are scared we all run back to nanny for fear of something worse.

    What we need is a National Government in this time of National Emergency.

  • Comment number 16.

    This by election proves that Fife in Scotland is split between SNP or Labour. We don't have the equivalent of SNP here in the south. There is no ENP.
    This for me is the interesting point about this by election. It turned into an almost exclusively two-party fight. It highlights social and cultural differences between the north of Britain and the south, which make it, to my mind, even more important for representatives of all parties and politicians from all parts of the UK to be at Westminster.

  • Comment number 17.

    11. I have seen this behaviour at our elections here in N.W. London. It is the Asian population here who get their elderly, non-English speaking or understanding, relatives to put the cross where their English speaking relatives tell them to.

    Disgusts me.

    However, when my disabled wheelchair bound son who has his own views and mind of his own goes to vote the officers insist on taking him into the booth themselves and monitoring that he is voting of his own free will. (He tells us he votes Conservative, afterwards).

  • Comment number 18.

    It was a triumph for Brown (one cannot deny it - although with a greatly reduced majority, etc. etc.)

    But it won't play like this nationwide. As economically things are going to get worse before they slowly get better, I guess that now is Brown's 'last best chance' to call a General Election. Luckily for us all he is a bottler.

    BTW: After seven electioneering visits to Glenrothes, is Sarah Brown (aka the prop) now fair game?

  • Comment number 19.

    Ha ha,

    loosing roughly half of your majority is now considered an 'bounce' for labour

    wonder if it will encourage brown into giving everybody a say, but courage is something brown is decidedly lacking. He'll need more time to 'set out his vision'

  • Comment number 20.

    13. At 10:45am on 07 Nov 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:
    "Alex Salmond is just a political troll. He's very clever and persuasive but he sniffed his own gasses too much and imploded. People like this can look very strong and get a lot of attention but they're a little too bright and brittle. As people slowly caught up and developed their own view the wax holding his political wings on melted and he crashed to the earth."

    You're getting them mixed up Alex Salmon is the SNP guy, it's Gordon Brown that you're thinking of.

  • Comment number 21.

    #14 jonathan_cook

    Well said.

    I watched the BBC this morning. So much air time given over to Labour's win at Glenrothes - in fact it was their top story. Would you really have devoted so much time to this if Labour had lost? Or would the election in Glenrothes have been wiped from our screens altogether?

  • Comment number 22.

    all the signs and words by Mr Brown point to a snap election-"we need a fresh Mandate"

  • Comment number 23.

    Labour winning in Glenrothes (and their 55%-35% and 6,000+ votes margin of victory) is unexpected to a degree.

    * They faced strong competition from the SNP, who were confidently predicting they would win even as polling stations shut

    * Many (including those right-winggers on this message board) were convinced Brown would get a deserved kicking from the electorate

    But I would agree that it is Labour heartland territory, so not overly impressive

    Then again, Henley-on-Thames was Conservative heartland territory, and Labour losing their deposit there was proof for many right-wingers that Brown was massively unpopular. Interesting that the Conservatives losing their deposit in a Labour hearland (and reducing their share of the vote) is no reflection on Cameron.

  • Comment number 24.

    Clearly not many people in Glenrothes have TV sets or internet access. If you spend all your time cashing government hand outs the real world is a distant place.
    There was one Scottish guy interviewd on the news who intended to vote Labour because he was "Labour through and through and always would be"
    There was no though process going on, just some kind of primative reflex.
    One hand for cashing dole cheques, the other for putting a tick in the Labour box.

  • Comment number 25.

    Welcome back to the neutral ground Nick!

    I'm glad you mentioned that Labour can not campaign every constituency like they have Glenrothes. Like people have said, everything but the sink was thrown at an area they had a 10,000 majority in.

    So this does nothing to spoil my Friday!

  • Comment number 26.

    20. Rofl. Somebody needs to do their homework. I think you one can do a correspondence course in Politics and Economics and perhaps gain a Diploma - or is that in America? ROFL.

  • Comment number 27.

    Perhaps the reason people vote for Labour is because they have considered the alternative.

    When the age of rampant market capitalism, introduced by Thatcher/Reagan has proven to be a mistake, the last thing we need is a Tory government.
    New Labour needs to be more agressive and fight the "forces of conservatism".

    That a caricature Tory toff such as 'Dave' Cameron - old Etonian etc... could be seen as the model for the 21st century is frightening. They are not called 'Conservatives' for nothing.

    Bill McFadden

  • Comment number 28.

    What is "Extraordinary" is that there is not a single mention of the IMF's assertions that the looming recession that Britain is facing will be far worse than many other developed economies of the world, unless you count those stalwarts of sound financial accumen like Zimbabwe!

    Not a single headline on the News Front Page, Business or Politics sections, that in fact Mssrs Brown and Darling et al have been lying through their teeth when repeating their mantra of Britain being best placed to withstand the global economic turmoil etc... Did I miss something during the bank shopping spree where the Government bought the BBC and is now dictating what gets reported in the State-owned media?!

    The BBC gets all high and mighty about "balance" and libel on shows like Have I Got News For You, but seems to actively promote the Government without reproach.

    I know all polititians try to avoid questions they don't like, but I have never seen one like Brown, who just constantly repeats the same statement in the hope that the question just goes away. His performances at PMQ's vs Cameron are woefull; just full of cheap remarks, dodgy statistics and sidestepping.

  • Comment number 29.

    Apparantly in Glenrothes they throw stones at the moon, and try to collect moonlight from puddles to light thier homes.

  • Comment number 30.

    It's funny seeing all the Tory boys roll up with their predictable lists of lies and negativity. Flanked by arrogant banks and a rise in bullying by bad management in the workplace, their ever weakening putsch continues.

    The Tory classes created economic failure and keep trying to talk us into recession but people aren't buying it. In a similar way, I find the Tory talk just boring. Better Labour policies (and blogs) will focus people on success and that's where the money is.

    I'm looking forward to Labour economic recovery sooner rather than later, and Labour blogs that have something genuine and meaningful to offer. It's just so much better than what the Tories have on show, and "Dave" and his pal "Guido" know it.

  • Comment number 31.

    Probably just a flash in the pan from a minor Scottish safe-Labour constutuency where the PM has some personal influence.

    In other words, "it'll be allright on the night" and we'll soon be waving a cheery goodbye to NannyLand-NuLabour.

  • Comment number 32.

    Yesterday people complained that "not enough airtime" was being given to domestic politics. Today people are complaining that coverage is only being given because Labour won. Frankly, both are ridiculous.

    Anyhow, Salmond lost, and I for one (a party member for another party) was cheering seeing the Troll stuffed. He's arrogrant and self-righteous, and worse he makes Brown look competent.

  • Comment number 33.

    The result is only extraordinary because commentators seem to have decided weeks ago how it would turn out, and didn't review their opinion in the light of significant and fast-changing events.

    It doesn't seem that difficult to understand to me. Everyone knew it would be a Labour v SNP contest, hence the other parties' votes were squeezed. And the central argument and hence much of the essential appeal of the SNP has taken a catastrophic hit from the way the banking crisis is hitting smaller countries such as Iceland. Gordon Brown's local connections and higher global profile will have also contributed but I'd see these as secondary factors.

    If I'm right then the read-across into English politics won't be nearly as significant....

  • Comment number 34.

    Many of the people in Glenrothes would vote Labour if the candidate was a goldfish! They are typical of the older Labour supporters who can't bring themselves to even think of changing their allegiances no matter what ruination Gordon Brown has brought upon us.

    It was reported at the weekend that Gordon's raid on our pensions has cost EACH of us over £16,000 from our pensions.

    He has presided over a disasterous decade of tax, borrow and spend and is in a large part, responsible for encouraging the irresponsibility of the Banks, by setting up the FSA without any real teeth. He is now motgaging our Children's future by borrowing even more money to try and prop up this failing economy.

    The economy is the worst prepared of any of the developed countries to weather the looming recession according to the IMF, and the recession here will be deeper and more extended.

    And STILL these Labour supporters turn out to vote for Brown the buffoon who has brought all this upon us.

    What does hge have to do before these people realise he has led us all down the garden path and failed miserably?

    GET RID OF HIM! HE IS A DISASTER!

  • Comment number 35.

    "I saw a teenage lad being taken to vote by his dad for the first time, and his dad was explaining what to do.

    You put a cross here where it says Labour, and then another cross here where it says Labour. he said."

    Then the Presiding Officer should have been sacked for not preserving the secrecy of the ballot.

    I for one would never have allowed this.

  • Comment number 36.

    An 8% swing away from labour is plenty enough to see them out of power in a General Election.

    It was about time they managed to defend a heartland, Even Maggies Torys managed to once in a while.

    If the best they can do in such a heartland is an 8% swing away from them they are in it up past their ears.

    Auntie Beeb can spin it all they like but it is still a swing away from Labour in an area where they are going to be able to do their absolute best.

    The real political analysts inside the Labour party will now know that the game is up. It will be no good going to the polls early and it will be no good going late. They know that the next election is lost now.

  • Comment number 37.

    @27

    Well done Bill. I see you took my advice yesterday and managed to get "toff" into your post today.

  • Comment number 38.

    so they won this by-election will they win a general election?
    yes they will becouse they can not afford to loose.
    neu labour will march ever onward in power crushing those opponents who dare to rise against them.

    the people will be happy and free of high taxation or stealth taxes under neu labour they will resolve the growing issues of housing, ecconomy, and conflicts abroad earning the unending gratitude of the huddled masses.

    as the neu labour government rules with a fairness unheard of the people will liken there leaders to gods and they will be listened to and obeyed without question.

    all other parties and world leaders will look in envy of the neu labour government and its handeling of our ecconomy and our living standard. even europe will come to accept that neu labour is better than what they have devised and give themselves over to its power.

    then neu labour will find a cure for cancer erradicate crime and make every one happy.

    only one problem with this vision corrupt and untrustworthy neu labour members have already stopped any chance of neu labour being anything but a poor footnote in the grand scheem of it all.

  • Comment number 39.

    #30 CEH

    I'm looking forward to Labour economic recovery sooner rather than later........

    It's not going to be sooner, Charles. Exactly how long have you got?

  • Comment number 40.

    The Brown Bounce is real?

    -----

    I'm confused. The Labour Party were really expected to hold this seat, werent they?

    So how can you give them credit when they have held on to a safe Labour seat?

    Perhaps if they'd won a seat of the SNP, Tories then the statement may be correct!

  • Comment number 41.

    #5 getridofgordonnow: "Very strange; I don't understand it"

    Being only somewhat flippant, I think that has been obvious for some time - not just grogn, but a number likeminded folk on here.

  • Comment number 42.

    30. Charles_E_Hardwidge

    Perhaps I've missed it, but hasn't Labour been in power since 1997? Arguably they have been in power since 1992

    How can the Tory classes have created the economic failure? We haven't had a sniff of power until this year...

  • Comment number 43.

    Ha ha ha

  • Comment number 44.

    #38 delminister

    ...sounds just like Communism to me......:-)

  • Comment number 45.

    This truly is a real bonus for Labour, although whether it was as unexpected (to them) as they have been making out is, I suspect, doubtful. Nevertheless, they will now be on defcon 4 for an election early next year.

    We can therefore look forward to Pravda running many more stories along the lines of "nine out of ten people are so happy with life they'd really rather just make Gordon Brown PM for life", and "so many people are in favour of ID cards they're going to have to start introducing them early to cope with the rush".

    You may also be assured that as and when any bank/building society lowers its lending rates, this will be reported as them finally bending to government pressure. Bad news, such as rising unemployment, increasing business failures or repossessions will be introduced as "further evidence of the global financial meltdown".

    It is, I am afraid, a simple truth that oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them, and winning the propaganda war is central to any campaign, hence welcome back Pete & Ali. If you thought the quality of reporting on the Beeb was bad before, you ain't seen nothing yet.

  • Comment number 46.

    When the age of rampant market capitalism, introduced by Thatcher/Reagan has proven to be a mistake, the last thing we need is a Tory government.
    New Labour needs to be more agressive and fight the "forces of conservatism".


    I found that as the Tories rose up the polls and sniffed power they stopped discussing things reasonably and being polite. The mask off nasty party and their Thatcherite economics slipped. So, I think, you're right. We don't need that.

    I can accept some good things happened during the Thatcher years but some of those would've happened anyway. Plus, they created some very hurtful recessions and we're still dealing with their legacy as this latest crisis shows.

    Personally, I don't believe this recession will be that long or deep but it would be longer and, certainly, deeper under the Tories. R&D and jobs are where it's at and they have no answer to that beyond cut, cut, cut. Well, I ain't living through that again. No, sir.

    I think, it's going to take another 30 years of Labour before the Tories and their big business pals have truly reformed: the failed habit patterns and tribalism are just etched too deep. They're damaged people and need that time to discover their humanity.
  • Comment number 47.

    Are we all that surprised?

    It was only the SNP that told us it was in the bag. They seem to have been taking by-election lessons from the Lib-Dems; namely, talk up your prospects to the point where you believe them but nobody else quite understands.

    The moral in this is don't believe your own propaganda. Scottish nationalism has been a busted flush for ages as it has no economic policy; not even the gibberish that was conjured up to look like an economic policy.

    As for a Brown bounce; this does not look like one. It looks more like a case of times being a bit dodgy so let's cleave to the devil we know for fear of making matters worse whilst keeping our options open.

    Quite a good idea: shrewd folk these Fifers.

  • Comment number 48.

    I've just listened to that whinger Alex Salmond at a press conference ... so, Labour won Glenrothes because they duped people with scaremongering tactics. What does that say about the voters of Glenrothes? That they're easily scared ? That they're too dim to spot a pack of lies when it's told to them ? I think not.
    I think the majority of Scots, in Glenrothes and elsewhere, can recognise a busted flush when they spot one ... and that's Alex Salmond. ... oh, and I see the Tory candidate lost their deposit... no time for novices, eh ?

  • Comment number 49.

    The absolute snobbery on this board towards the voters of Glenrothes is amazing and is a serious reason to rethink voting for the Tories at the next election.
    If people seriously believe that someone would vote Labour because they are on the dole then they are living on another planet, more than a touch of sour grapes!

    They voted Labour because they had a look at the alternatives!....whatever you think of how the economy got here, who would you rather rely on to get us out of this and help the average family.....someone who knows about finance and the way economies work or a Tory school boy who has as much clue as the posters here.

  • Comment number 50.

    #36

    I have to confess to ignorance here - I don't understand how they calculate the figures on swings in elections.

    Looking at the results

    General Election, May 2005

    Labour - 19,395 (51%)
    SNP - 8,731 (23.4%)
    Lib Dem - 4,728 (12.7%)
    Conservative - 2,651 (7.1%)
    Others - 1,861 (5%)
    Turnout - 37,366 (56.1%)

    Labour Majority - 10,664 (28.5%)

    By-Election, November 2008

    Labour - 19,946 (55.1%)
    SNP - 13,209 (36.5%)
    Conservative - 1,381 (3.8%)
    Lib Dem - 947 (2.6%)
    Others - 712 (2.1%)
    Turnout - 36,219 (52.4%

    Labour Majority - 6,737 (18.6%)

    Labour's share of the vote went up, so I don't understand why it is a swing against them.

    There was certainly a swing away from the Conservatives (almost halving their share of the vote) and the Lib Dems (receiving 20% of their 2005 share of the vote), towards the SNP. I suspect this is partly due to tactical voting on the part of Lib Dems and Conservative voters.

    But, I repeat, Labour's share went up. How is it a swing against them? More a small swing towards them, surely?





  • Comment number 51.

    The real political analysts inside the Labour party will now know that the game is up. It will be no good going to the polls early

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Labour's best hope is to go to the polls now. I say this as somebody who wants them to remain until 2010 not because I'm a Labour supporter but because by then it should be apparent to even the doziest of voters (and Glenrothes shows there is no shortage of them) that we are in a crushing recession and we were marched in here by Labour.

    Labour's long-term political survival is best served by losing now rather than getting annihilated in 2010. If they go now, today, they will manage to avoid that all-important second quarter of 'negative growth'. Ten years from now, when the electorates memory has faded a little, they'll be able to claim that the didn't have a recession on their watch. They'll be able to claim that it was the Tories that 'brought us into recession'.. And don't worry - that is exactly what they will be claiming. Even as now they are blaming the UK recession and house price boom/bust on the Americans and the banks. And Margaret Thatcher.

    Gordon Brown got what he wanted. He got to be PM. He successfully (in his own mind at least) managed to convince the BBC that he saved the world with his economic plan. Nicked wholesale from the guys at Standard Chartered.

    In his own world he's a self-proclaimed brilliant success. He can be content with that. Labour can get out of the house and leave the Tories/whoever to try and put out the fire he lit on the sofa, the bed, the wastepaper bin and the bath filled with petrol. Metaphorically speaking.

    Leave it for the next generation of economically dyspraxic politicians to screw it all up again in ten years time.

    The truly sad thing is that it would have been easier to get it right. If he'd done nothing for the past ten years he couldn't have done a worse job. He had to actually go out of his way to screw things up so badly.

    That is what is so dispiriting.

    It's like when your striker is passed a ball two yards out in front of an open goal and instead of just side-footing it in he takes an extravagant swing and either misses totally or hoiks it over the bar.

    Every day. For ten years.

  • Comment number 52.

    #35 Agreed, but I doubt it would have happened, and unfortunately one vote would never make a difference here.

    I was at school here in 1990 the day that Maggie resigned and the teachers in every class practically threw a party for the rest of the day. Labour voting is like an inbuilt response round here and I still to this day don't understand it.

    Still, I can't wait for the general election...

  • Comment number 53.

    A sad day. It would have been nice to see Labour getting a kicking. I can only assume that, accepting that the voters of Glenrothes are not terminally stupid, they came to the conclusion that all the other parties are just as bad as Labour.

    What a shame we don't have a choice of politicians who we can actually believe in, but the sad fact is that we don't.

  • Comment number 54.

    #24 CablesMartial
    "There was no though process going on, just some kind of primative reflex.
    One hand for cashing dole cheques, the other for putting a tick in the labour box"

    Of course your primitive reflex (note correct spelling) is to not vote labour whatever happens, hypocritical behaviour at best.

    You seem to imply that the majority of people in Glenrothes are unemployed, while not actually providing any figures, this primitive reflex to blame all of your problems on the unemployed comes not from your original thought processes but lifted directly from the pages of the Daily Mail.

    well, a quick google, and...
    "Glenrothes' economy is currently strong with unemployment levels in line with the Scottish average. Glenrothes provides the highest number of jobs (approx 36,000) of any single settlement in Fife"

    with unemployment in scotland running at 6% that kinda rains on your parade doesn't it ?. tut, tut, maybe you should have gone with the "immigrants being told how to vote by relatives" argument like others on here. personally I admire your restraint in rejecting the Racist viewpoint but you still need to apologise to the hard working voters in Glenrothes.

    Camerons new election slogan "Vote Tory, because we are really, really bad losers"

  • Comment number 55.

    Salmond lost, and I for one (a party member for another party) was cheering seeing the Troll stuffed. He's arrogrant and self-righteous, and worse he makes Brown look competent.

    Oh yeah. It's not all bad news. Nobody deserves to be stuffed more than Alex Samond. Except Gordon Brown. It was the Dunfermline by-election that gave the best result. The Lib-Dems came from nowhere to stuff the pair of arrogant wasters.

  • Comment number 56.

    Fully deserved win. Tory vote derisory. If the Conservatives had offered any sort of insights and solutions to the economic problems of the moment surely they should have got more than 1,381 votes!

  • Comment number 57.

    Gordon Brown is calling this by-election result a 'vote of confidence' in his handling of the economy. Typically arrogant platitude from a career politician whose grip on reality is feather light. And Hazel 'Squeak' Blears is surprised that her and her ilk are held in such pitiable contempt.
    As a wise man once said, 'I fart in their general direction.'

  • Comment number 58.

    Re #9

    Excellent post. I can't disagree with the list and yet theres an opportunity for blog monitor Hazel Blears to add in her list of achievements as a counter argument, let me think...

    multicultural integration and cheeriness
    free stuff for the scots not the english
    prudence and definitely not a novice
    for every british born emigrator going out there are 4 unskilled cleaners coming in

    We should be duly proud, and thank the people of glenrothes for their insight into returning the only part worth voting for (not)

  • Comment number 59.

    Brown bounce uh... what a bounce that was, wasn't there a swing to SNP of nearly 5% and where was the other 47.66% of the votes, obviously they didn't care a toss, did you overlook this - we'll see what happens in the General Election... pure political and media hype.

    OK, OK it was a bounce, Gordon brown and Co are so confident that they are running scared of a General election and so scared of losing their seats, ask the back bencher's not one is confident.... now bring on the spin bowling!


  • Comment number 60.

    'the unaccountable and unquestioned Mrs Brown visiting seven times (or more?)'

    since when did a labour member and party activist need to be accountable? what of the hundreds of others working in the campaign? she has as much of a right to be there. the tories on this message board need to stop nitpicking about labours campaign and tell us all why the 'alternative' would be better for us. that is why labour won! they have performed badly, but the alternatives have not set out in real terms how they would be better

  • Comment number 61.

    Nick

    First a declaration of interest. I don't want am independent Scotland and was glad to see SNP getting a bloody nose.

    However, in terms of analysing the result, it's not easy to work whether you have been duped by the Labour machine or are part of it.

    The Labour campaign was ruthlessly and very narrowly focused on the perfomance of the local council and its leader - who just happened to the SNP candidate. They were less than wholly honest in condemning the council for charges which had been introduced in many other councils - including Labout led. But, hey, politics is a dirty game where honesty is seemingly a unaffordable luxury. And SNP are no political virgins.

    BUT - post the campaign and the result, history is instantly rewritten. The major reason for the result, we are told, was Brown's handling of the economic crisis and the associated Brown bounce. Come on !

    Standards are slipping in politics. We demand a return to the days of credible lies.

  • Comment number 62.

    @46

    Chas you are as deluded as the great leader.

    30 years of nulabour and there would be no country left to govern.

  • Comment number 63.

    Crikey, that didn't take long. In an article entitled "More people and firms going bust" on the Business section of this website, detailing that 26% more firms are now being liquidated than a year ago, we are soberly informed:

    "The rising trend started this year as the economy started to slowdown under the impact of the credit crunch."

    Thank goodness for that. For a horrible moment I thought it might be the government's fault.

  • Comment number 64.

    @49

    Mark you haven't visited many council estates have you?

    Amongst the client class there is very much a I vote labour because my dad did and his dad did etc.

  • Comment number 65.

    #49

    I'll definitely go for the guy "who knows about finance and the way economies work".

    Who is he?

  • Comment number 66.

    Initially I was with everyone else forecasting a Labour defeat on the scale of Glasgow East. However, the last month has seen some dramatic developments economically.

    I have had some admiration for how Brown has handled this (and yes, it really does pain me to admit that). He has taken action and convinced other leaders to follow his lead, including the US; no mean feat.

    That's not to say that I believe his actions were right; quite the contrary. I think he has dug us into a very big hole, and in time we will realise he's made our lot much worse than it would have been.

    But for all that the markets do seem to have settled down, and the crisis looks to have been averted (at least for now).

    Rather than view the voters of Glenrothes as fools who aren't up on current affairs, I am inclined to think the opposite.

    Their choice was between Labour or SNP. An independent Scotland would have been in a sorry state without London's gold to bail out RBS and HBOS. So they stuck with what they know.

    Brown's blocked the knockout punch, but he's still on the ropes.

  • Comment number 67.

    Many are attempting to downplay Labour's success by pointing to the reduced majority. Can any who have done this tell me how many mid-term by-elections have resulted in an increased majority for the party of government? (I can't remember any, but I guess there must have been ?)

    Its as disingenuous as pointing to the Tory lost deposit to make a case that Cameron peaked too soon!

    The fact is a few weeks ago Labour looked to be heading for meltdown, this result would indicate otherwise and gives them something to build from and, perhaps more importantly, a morale boost to its activists and supporters.

  • Comment number 68.

    Nick, if you're serious that everybody, including many Labour MPs, were expecting Labour to lose this seat then perhaps we should investigate the count... Is there any way of verifying the postal votes? I mean, Labour have form in rigging these... don't they?

    I found it interesting that yesterday the BBC decided to wait till after 10pm to report the IMF's findings that Britain is the worse placed economically when compared to the rest of the developed world... why was that?

    It's no surprise that the BBC is spinning this result as a vote of confidence in Brown, but may I suggest that if he wants the public to show him what we think of him, he calls a general election, now.

  • Comment number 69.

    This government has got to go. I'll not bang on about the economy, because the only people that can be unaware of what is going on at the moment are the hoards of incapacity claimants with their guaranteed income and free cars. Have a look at this excellent article;
    http://www.lgcplus.com/Analysis/2008/11/look_at_the_bigger_picture.html
    Our public services are tied up in knots of paperwork and targets and inspection. Billions are spent on feeding the beast. Fact - the government have retained their 'new houses built' target, even though they know fine well nobody is building houses. The inspection Gestapo - Audit Commission, CSCI, Ofstead etc. - is populated by people who couldn't get proper jobs elsewhere, and they harangue public sector officials to the point of despair. I'll say it again - billions are tied in recording and monitoring PSA'a, LAA's, MAA's, Use of Resources blah blah blah, and then sending out failed 'policy officers' who can only get a job at the Audit Commission to inspect them. Surely its time for the audit commission to get back in its box and just audit accounts? They'll say that they have driven improvment, becuse everybody is scoring higher - 4 stars here, 3 stars there. But what's that noise? - public satisfaction is dropping like a stone. Public sector bodies 'need to examine the reasons why publci satisfaction is not high' say the Commission at the end of their reports, after awarding 4 stars for performance. It's bleeding obvious - the whole framework has got Council's, Hospitals, Police etc. DOING THE WRONG THINGS VERY WELL. Sorry for shouting, but its insane! There is absolutely no room for innovation. Read the article again.
    Like I said, the economic woe is a major factor that is being debated widely, but for the way that this government has systematically turned our public services into a stalinistic 5 year planning regime that delivers what the government and its inpspectors want, but not what the people want, it needs to be booted out now.

  • Comment number 70.

    It's hardly a triumph for Labour to hold on to a safe Labour seat in Brown's backyard in what is probably the most Labour orientated area in Scotland . The SNP hoped and thought they could win , but were out campaigned and demonised by the media and the Labour election machine over local issues which, as has been pointed out have no bearing on Westminster.However if the SNP can cut Labour's majority almost in half in what is a seat Labour should not lose, then I suspect the Tories will destroy Labour in England at the next election when the only issue will be Labour's incompetence and the destruction of the economy. There are, many other seats in Scotland where Brown's stock is much lower and these seats may very well fall to the SNP or to the other parties , and there will be a lot of Scottish Labour MPs looking ahead to life on the dole.

  • Comment number 71.

    Plus, they created some very hurtful recessions and we're still dealing with their legacy as this latest crisis shows.

    Tsk. ANd there was me thinking Gordon Brown and Labour had been in power for a decade. And now you're trying to spin that Margaret Thatcher is still in power and it's a Tory recession. You watch too much BBC. Labour has been in since 1997. They've been bragging about 15 years of continuous growth. Looks like it was all on borrowed money after all.

    Who borrowed all the money? Gordon Brown. Labour recession. Labour's fault.

    Personally, I don't believe this recession will be that long or deep but it would be longer and, certainly, deeper under the Tories.

    We may get every chance to see that shortly too. This recession is just getting started. Gordon will, either in a typical fit of hubris (because he's actually insane enough to believe he can win it) or party loyalty (saddle the Tories with the worst of the impending economic Armageddon) go to the country and get swept away.

    Timing his exit nicely to avoid the second quarter of nailed on 'negative growth' and leaving others to take the blame for the second, third, fourth, fifth etc etc quarters of negative growth. The political equivalent of declaring bankrupcy. Run up all your debts without a care in the world and then just walk away.

    It really doesn't matter who is in power for the next five or ten years. Gordon Brown has buried the economy. He didn't even mark the grave. The short-term 'fix' to defer an even worse disaster is to print money and let inflation run rampant so that's what Labour will do. Possibly the Tories too.

    This is not going to end well.

    I just want to see the architect of all this (Gordon Brown) brought to (at least) electoral justice and ideally jailed. Without charge. Indefinitely. See how he likes it.

  • Comment number 72.

    re: 36, pot_kettle

    Today is quite a sad day
    For the Scots have been led astray,
    Brown pulled out all the stops
    (But his 'family aren't props'*)
    Let's hope he thinks things are going his way!

    But we can take comfort in knowing
    That in spite of Nu-Labour's crowing
    With an eight percent swing
    We can finally sing
    That in 2010 Nu-Lab are going!

    *Except Sarah that is!

  • Comment number 73.

    By the way, for anyone who hasn't seen the IMF's growth predictions for 2009 (and if you rely on the BBC for your news, you won't have), here they are:

    China +8.5%
    Russia +3.5%
    Brazil +3.0%
    East Euro +2.5%
    Canada +0.3%
    Mexico +0.9%
    Japan -0.2%
    France -0.5%
    Euro Zone -0.5%
    Italy -0.6%
    Britain -1.3

    So, why has Brown and Labour been constantly lying to us about being "best placed" to whether this financial crisis? Why have the media & the BBC not held them to account...??

  • Comment number 74.

    Instead of blogs please could the BBC give us some real fairy tales, I mean the ones without spin that tell things as they are. To start us off I'd suggest "The Emperor's New Clothes".

  • Comment number 75.

    Gordon Brown is taking this as a "vote of confidence", and presumably assumes endorsement for more of the same.

    More deluded nonsense.

  • Comment number 76.

    Bring on the general election, then we will all know how popular Gordon Brown is.
    Snowballs chance in hell sums it up.

  • Comment number 77.

    It is high time that mr. Brown and his government should show some humility and start ''growing up''! His success in this by-election does not reflect the mood of the whole country. Should he go to the people they will rightly say : please resign ! you made a mess over the last 10 years, you came into power on a high and there was never any truth in the actions the govermnment have taken.
    How can this government look itself in the mirror and sleep at night when their legacy is covered with dead bodies, misery, financial ruin, lies, lies and damned lies, they should have the decency to resign, slash their remuneration to an acceptable level (they work (from 9 till 5 - have a lot of holidays and a final salary pension) - the workers have to pay for their cosy life when they are unable to take any responsibility for their actions. Shame on this government - shame on the labour MP's!

  • Comment number 78.

    People seem to be overlooking that this was about Labour v the SNP. By-elections always bring out the protest vote and here you have two parties that are in power, one in Westminster, the other in Edinburgh and the local council.

    So, Glenrothes voters dislike their experience of SNP rule more than they dislike their experience of Labour rule. This means nothing for the rest of the country. If it's a bounce it's very much of the "dead cat" variety.

  • Comment number 79.

    I like that slogan.

    Vote Tory because we're VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY Bad Loosers!


    Oh and do we really have to hand back our depost..dont you know 'call me Dave' will be angry.

  • Comment number 80.

    1) Brown told the scots that they need English money to subsidise their banking jobs.

    2) Labour tells Glenrothians that SNP stopped them increasing thier subsidy from other scots (the SNP froze council tax and spending).

    It seems pretty clear that the Glenrothians voted for their wallets.

    Wallets that are substantially filled with other taxpayers money - just the way gordon likes it.

  • Comment number 81.

    #60 modernunionist

    I think what Cameron and co have been telling us is that they would have regulated a lot more.

    They were warning over the past few years about how bank deregulation had gone too far, and how the Government needed to take the tough decision to re-regulate, even if that meant City firms leaving for Frankfurt, Shanghai and New York. The loss of jobs, they continually told the Government, was worth the extra benefits Government regulation could brink. The Government has a far better idea of what the risk of toxic sub-prime US assets and associated securities than the free-market. Why didn't Brown listen when Cameron told him that "the market doesn't know best - the Government should regulate a lot harder"?

    Conservatives warned that the massive bonuses received by bankers were unmerited and it was all a mirage, and urged Labour to tax them harder. They argued it was quite right for Labour to intervene in this way, and that they should force these reforms past City and Media interest groups, and ignore those who would call this the politics of envy.

    Conservatives warned house prices were too high, and urged Government action to reduce them, by taking a greater role in approving mortgage loans that banks gave, by increasing tax on housing transactions (e.g. stamp duty) to dampen speculative demand, and charging capital gains tax on housing.

    Why didn't Brown listen to Cameron. What a disaster.

  • Comment number 82.

    They voted Labour because they had a look at the alternatives!....whatever you think of how the economy got here, who would you rather rely on to get us out of this and help the average family.....someone who knows about finance and the way economies work or a Tory school boy who has as much clue as the posters here.


    That's a very good point.

    Another one I picked up for people questioning Labour's success is that Labour's recovery is better than anything Thatcher did during her worst moment and better even than Blair at his most popular.

    Salmond tried to game the system and Cameron has lied like a rug, but people cut through that and voted on reality. The arrogance and naivety of the SNP and Tories backfired. Hurrah.

    It's straying off the turf a bit but when I was a child my family doctor was a Scot. He was of the old school; a bit flinty but very sociable. I like what Scots like that bring to the union. So, this is one pleased puppy.
  • Comment number 83.

    By the way Nick

    Wasn't it Yesterday that Mandleson was in the lords being questioned about his time with his yacht owning friend?

    Anything you'd like to say about it ?

  • Comment number 84.

    Just when is the BBC going to fall out of love with Brown? When are your reports going to become impartial again (as they are supposed to be)?
    Our economy is in free-fall, yet all you have reported on for the last week was the election in the U.S. Minimal mentions of our economy; bankruptcies, job losses, IMF reports etc.
    How are the people of Glenrothes, or anywhere else supposed to know whats happening in the UK if you don't report it?

  • Comment number 85.

    #51 U9461192: It's like when your striker is passed a ball two yards out in front of an open goal and instead of just side-footing it in he takes an extravagant swing and either misses totally or hoiks it over the bar.

    Don't remind me of Chris Iwelumo, I'm depressed enough as it is ;o)

  • Comment number 86.

    Sorry Nick, Gordon Brown is not a "born and bred Fifer". He was born in Govan, which is still part of Glasgow as far as I know!

    Yours, Andrew (born and bred Fifer, now sadly a long way from his beloved Glenrothes!)

  • Comment number 87.

    "It was never before thought helpful for leaders in trouble to organise a global economic crisis. "
    Thank you Nick for confirming what we suspected it's Gordon's fault hopefully it is now BBC policy to point this out every time he says global.
    I understand Milliband told the Turkish Minister that this was a vote for confidence in Gordon.This leads me to wonder if the Turks think he's in trouble shouldn't we all be very worried.

  • Comment number 88.

    Please Gordon see this as a green light for an election Please!!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    There are some pretty ignorant posts appearing here about the people in Glenrothes.

    Losing a relatively safe seat is unlikely. If it had been lost then we would be talking about the end of Brown. As it happens, it was held and because Brown survives, people have posted some pretty negative comments about the voters.

    Brown will have a lot more challenges in the next two years.

    Instead of people complaining that the voters of Glenrothes have not followed their wishes, they should be demanding that the party that they want to see in government, takes a stronger position in promoting their views.

    Instead of the current government losing the election, opposition parties should have to win it.

  • Comment number 90.

    In the end the economy won't recover until confidence returns. It won't return until the public are confident that they know the problems are fixed. They won't know that until they know exactly what went wrong.

    If the problems were all "global" then they could be global again.

    Once they look into why the UK was so exposed by bad regulation and encouraging risky behaviour amongst the banks then Gordon Brown will look like a dodgey car salesman who has been caught out.

    Actually I always thought he was a decent man in the wrong job at the wrong time. Now I think he has no conscience and will put the party before the country every time no matter how serious the problems. I hope that is how history judges him.

  • Comment number 91.

    (they work (from 9 till 5 - have a lot of holidays and a final salary pension)

    The problem is that they don't have nearly enough holidays. I'd cheerfully pay them to take the next five years off. They couldn't do a worse job than they have been doing.

  • Comment number 92.

    #61 Only jocking

    Yours is, I think, the only post here which shows understanding of the dynamic in Glenrothes - though I would have preferred a different result!

    It was an extremely clever Labour campaign.

    The September and October Scottish YouGov polls identified the area of slipping support for the SNP in a financial crisis - younger female voters. Normal political assumptions would be that this group are more nervous of changes that might affect the family.

    Whether or not, Labour picked up on that or not, they hammered home fears on care of the elderly and education.

    Of course, they were unfair charges, but the SNP should have been prepared for it - it's a tactic they've used themselves with great success previously!

  • Comment number 93.

    Today doesn't mark a new dawn for Labour and Gordon Brown....

    However, it certainly has sparked people's attention. The progressive movement is not dead, and the New Labour campaign machine might just have rediscovered its mojo.

    A couple of points: Firstly, for those disparaging the people of Glenrothes as benefit scroungers and simple minded fools - go ahead, keep on down this route. Keep displaying the level of south-east arrogance and ignorance that turned the country against you in 97.

    You'll actually find the people of Glenrothes to be hard working, relatively well-off and solidly educated. Fifers are a canny and enterprising breed. Some of their famous sons have certainly done alright for themselves - Adam Smith and Andrew Carnegie for starters.

    Secondly, Cameron and the Tories seemed to have taken Labour's demise for granted. However, with Brown's handling of the crisis, the return of the Prince (as de facto deputy prime minister), the election of Obama, and now a boost from the heartlands; things are not as straightforward for the media-appointed Prime Minister-elect...

    Look out for the old Tory divisions starting to emerge, as well as doubts about whether this over-privileged, pale imitation of Blair has a solid enough chin for what might just become a proper contest over the next eighteen months (assuming a 2010 showdown).

  • Comment number 94.

    what a week!

    Obama wins the US election and Labour win Glenrothes with an increased number of voters. My cup runneth over.

    I love all the messages complaining about the BBC giving too much time to the by-election and saying everyone knew ages ago Labour would win.

    3 days ago the same people were complaining that the BBC were not giving it enough coverage and that Labour would lose.

    And please stop the tired old lies about media bias. Brown has been crucified in nearly every newspaper for a year now.

    This is the start of the comeback. The electorate know Cameron cannot handle the economy and Brown can.

    Oh and the best, the very best bit of this glorious week? The tories lost their deposit.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm glad Glenrothes was a smack in the face for the SNP and the Conservative party, not because I am Labour but because I have had enough of "get Brown at any cost."
    It is not my idea of being British at this time.
    Whoever had been in power at this time would have been met with the same trials and tribulations created by the greedy and disgusting speculation by the banks.
    This is wake up time and time people accepted this.
    It is no use bemoaning ones lot, look around, look at yourself and decide what you can of your own volition do to make things a little better to get yourself out of the hole you are in. No one owes you a living of your choice, Pride has no place in the current scheme of things nor has party politics - for Christ sake get a grip - I am making my Christmas presents, what are you doing?

  • Comment number 96.

    It is tempting to pull one from the standard politicians toolkit and say something like :

    'By-elections come and by-elections go'.

    But this poster tries not to sink to the level of yer bog-standard politician so I'll try something different.

    The front page of this mornings BBC News website had an item about "More people and firms going bust ... There has been a sharp rise in the number of people and companies being declared insolvent in England and Wales, government figures show."

    Spotted anything yet?

    England and Wales.

    Because Scotland is another country, complete with its own legal system and Parliament.

    One day my politically apathetic fellow English people will wake up to this.

    PS. Old nat - thanks for your kind comments earlier - I am visiting the capital of your fine country this weekend and will be asking local Scots about the Glenrothes result/Salmond/SNP.

  • Comment number 97.

    Thank goodness that sanity has prevailed, and the grim reality of the worldwide economic downturn has outweighed the 'Little Scotlander' nonsense which the SNP represents. When push comes to shove, the sensible folk of Fife rejected all the kilted carpetbagging and chose dour, dull Gordon's candidate.

    Great news!


    Bob Shaw

  • Comment number 98.

    Nick,

    So you were in Scotland for a couple of days. How this gives you any expertise to comment on the politics of Scotland, heaven knows. Having wrongly identified the place of birth for Brown, it is not surprising that you were unable to pinpoint his place or time of death (politically speaking of course).

    So long as Brown has control of the levers to the economy, no opposition party can demonstrate that they would be more competent than the incumbents. However, I find it more than a bit rich, that the Beeb allows the culprit so much leeway and good faith when the economic downturn is discussed.

    If you were doing your job, you would have pinned him down on the poor state of the UK economy relative to our partners and competitors, the real level of debt, and his inability to have taken a 'prudent' approach to the economy in better times. The fact that he is allowed to blame it all upon the global downturn with minimal fuss from the Beeb says it all. 'Didn't I do well' says Brown during the good times, and, 'it's all the fault of the Americans' when times are bad, is infantile, yet you lap it up.

    By the way, can you get over calling HBoS and RBS Scottish Banks as they are plainly UK banks based in Scotland. If a UK bank goes under, it won't just be the Scots who are affected.

    Finally, I would like to add my voice to the clamour for a General Election now. If there truly is a Brown revival, and we are all so enamoured by Labour, surely he won't hang around until 2010? On the other hand......

  • Comment number 99.

    It never ceases to amaze me,that whenever the Labour Party does well the Tory sycophants flood these comment sections with bile and over the top language. Get it through your thick skulls your party is a dead parrot you have missed the boat and when we have a general election your mob will be trounced

  • Comment number 100.

    Perhaps Dave is not such a vote magnet as he thought he was. I also see that even the Tories now think Good Time George is a political liability. Surely there are other Old Etonians left on the Tory Backbenches who could do an adequate job as shadow chancellor and avoid palling around with Russian Oligarchs.

 

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